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Weekend Planner: Dance

A skin-covered, rope-tuned, goblet-shaped drum played with the bare hands, the West African djembe had been historically reserved for male players since time immemorial. That changed in 1998 when a fellow named Mamoudou Conde decided to create an all-women percussion and dance ensemble to help those living in difficult conditions — often jobless and with children to support — achieve economic independence. Known Nimbaya!, the group has since toured the globe to much acclaim.

On Saturday the ensemble will be the featured performers at “Our Children’s World: International Holiday Gala and Benefit Concert” at the Academy of Music in Northampton. Including Kaissa, a singer from the Republic of Cameroon, Valley favorites Tony Vacca and Impulse Ensemble, Amherst-based flamenco dancer Ines Arrubla and sax and flute player Paul Lieberman (performing a mix of Brazilian jazz), the show will raise funds for Friends of Children and for the Senegal American Project.

7 p.m. $38 general admission; $23 early bird special; $78 VIP includes reception at 6 p.m. 584-9032, academyofmusictheatre.tix.com

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